Archive for July, 2012

Enhancing human performance

Making the human body test its limits is no new concept. Mankind has always been interested in pushing itself to extremes. The number of science projects that do research on enhancing human performance have been many and varied.

Some sought to test the physical ability of the human body while other research was centered on the mental faculties we possess. It is in no small measure that these scientific studies have contributed to our overall understanding of the feats and deeds that the human body is capable of completing.

Then comes the push to do better. If a record for a physical ability exists the next guys wants to break it. Swimming, running, and other sports are good examples of this, but what about mental abilities? Can they be trained to do better like the physical body can be trained? Apparently so.

The mental performance can be enhanced by training as well as some supplementary help. This can include performance enhancing drugs such as those are banned in physical sports as well as the artificial stimulation of the human brain physically.Maybe some day in the not so distant future you will be able to download the answers to the test straight to your brain. Till then such a human performance enhancing system remains the constant subject of research in science projects the world over.

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Does being dehydrated make you less effective?

The human body is like a magnificent puzzle that scientists are trying to solve with different research projects. How the body reacts to different stimuli is a popular method used in science projects dealing with the human body. It is well known that the energy for the effective functioning of the body comes from food, but water is just as important suggests this new study.

The Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut recently performed a science experiment involving performance of a simple task with a dehydrating effect. It was nothing very drastic, but proved illuminating all the same. The volunteers were made to walk a treadmill to induce dehydration after which they were put through a series of cognitive tests.

It was found that even a mild dehydration of 1.5% loss of the normal water volume of the body had a detrimental effect on concentration, reasoning and mood of the person. Another fact that came to light was that while the detrimental effect was seen in both sexes, the women showed a more substantial shift from effectiveness.

So if you want to study well or be physically fit it may pay dividends to ensure that you are also well hydrated. Drinking water regularly can actually make you more effective! At least that’s what the researchers of this science project had to say.

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Do girls need less calories per day?

We eat food to provide us energy. Out of the total number of calories that we consume 10 percent is used to maintain the body temperature, 20 percent is used by the physical exertions that you under take during the day and 70 percent is used up by the basic cellular processes that support our life including regulation of the osmotic balance of each individual cell that makes up the body.

There is considerable angst amongst teenagers with respect to their looks and weight. Diets are a popular way to control weight gain and some of them can be quite absurd. However a new scientific study says that girls may actually need less calories per day as compared to boys.

The reason for this is that boys tend to be taller, heavier and have larger internal organs and muscles as compared to girls. As per the study another reason may be the fact that girls naturally have a slightly higher proportion of body fat and need less energy to sustain it. The conclusion of the science research study was that girls need 500 less calories per day as compared to boys.

Maybe that is why the natural urge for girls to lose weight translates into dieting and for boys into increasing their physical activities in terms of exercises and sports. Guess there is a difference between boys and girls on a more basic cellular level after all.

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Can a shot help you quit smoking?

Smoking is injurious to your health! That’s a standard warning issued on all the cigarette packets and yet people smoke. Some claim that its just too difficult to kick the addiction. Well, this new science project may just provide them with hope that they too can get rid of the addiction.

Dr Ronald Crystal at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York is leading a research which aims at cutting out the gratification that a smoker gets from smoking. The concept is that if there is no pleasure derived from the act people will be able to quit smoking much easier.

The team has developed what it calls a genetic vaccine in which the genes gobble up the nicotine before it can reach the brain to give that satisfaction associated with a drag. The shot makes the antibodies of the body fight the nicotine and thus prevents the trigger of pleasure from reaching the brain.

Most smokers who quit end up back with a smoke in less than six months. If the pleasure trigger can be removed, the researchers feel that they will not get the urge to get back to smoking.Interesting enough for a scientific research, but will it work in the real world? We will know soon enough.

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New way to test blood glucose

For anyone who has been exposed to diabetes, either because they suffer from it or have seen a relative suffering from it, here is some good news. A new science project developed by Dr Suman Kapur of BITS Pilani may prove to be the least intrusive regular blood glucose test ever.

Regular blood sugar monitoring requires a diabetic to test his blood often and can prove expensive due to the testing strips that the blood sugar monitoring machine uses. In this new method that Dr Suman kapur has devised this will be a thing of the past.

The finger is pricked and blood is sent via a capillary tube to a cellphone sized blood sugar monitoring machine. It takes 10 seconds to give you a result. Plus it needs 1,000 times less blood than a standard glucometer today. It is also likely to cost less as the need for expensive testing strips is eliminated.

The new device is undergoing final trials and will be hitting the markets by the end of the year. It promises to be more effective and less expensive than current monitors.It is this constant improvement that various science projects bring to our lives that makes the different in human lifestyles.

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